August is finally over! Although I love training and opening, I am happy to finally get back to a normal schedule. Reflecting back on the month of August, and after a conversation with my supervisor, I thought about onboarding. Specifically, what does it mean to be onboarding while also onboarding paraprofessionals? Before getting into that, I think it is important to discuss how important a good onboarding experience is. Within my short time in Student Affairs, I have had a variety of experiences with this. Some may have not been the best, but I also have had great onboarding experiences, too.
The importance of onboarding really hit me during the bad experiences.
During these times I felt lost, unable to accomplish tasks, and overall work to the best of my ability. Without a good foundation, employees can spend the majority of their first weeks lost. It can even last longer than a few weeks. Employees then spend valuable time scrambling around to find their way around a new department or institution. This really can become problematic in the SA world. Since many new professionals are onboarding while simultaneously training paraprofessionals, or even new graduate students, information is important.
As a new professional, and new to my institution, I have been onboarding for the past month. On top of my own training, I have been training new and returning paraprofessionals. Luckily, I have had a great experience at my current institution. Plus, my paraprofessionals have been very understanding that I am new to campus and may not know everything yet. I would not be prepared to lead my paraprofessionals through their training, had I not experienced a great professional staff training myself.
I am looking forward to future positions and the onboarding I will receive and will provide to others. The more positions and experiences I take on, the more I understand what I need and what is important to provide to others during this important time.
I believe that sometimes our field overlooks professional staff training. It is important for the staff we lead and interact with that this is not the case. For those who may have not had the best experience, keep on fighting to get the information you need. All experiences will not be like that one.
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Podcast With Gamification in Higher Ed & Student Affairs with Stacy Jacob & Dave Eng